As the status of UFC 249 took a big turn on Monday morning due to the l0ckdown that champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is under in Russia, it appears the UFC wants to keep the event going and is looking for a possible replacement opponent. According to a report from Ariel Helwani of ESPN, as uncertainty surrounds Nurmagomedov’s availability due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tony Ferguson has been offered a fight with lightweight contender, Justin Gaethje.
Nurmagomedov took to Instagram early Monday morning and detailed his current situation as he is in Russia and admitted that the UFC is looking to continue on with their plans for UFC 249 “with or without him”. The report from Helwani about Ferguson being offered Gaethje notes that the fight hasn’t been accepted and that there is still no set location for the event.
As a result, Tony Ferguson, per sources, has been offered a fight against top contender Justin Gaethje, however, that fight has not been agreed upon nor finalized. Neither has a location for the event.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 30, 2020
“As a result, Tony Ferguson, per sources, has been offered a fight against top contender Justin Gaethje, however, that fight has not been agreed upon nor finalized. Neither has a location for the event.”
During his Instagram chat, Nurmagomedov revealed his team was told that UFC 249 will be taking place in Abu Dhabi, although that has not been reported or confirmed elsewhere at this time. After news came out about Nurmagomedov’s status, Ferguson took to Twitter to call out the champion as they face a possible fifth postponement of their matchup.
April 18 Is Getting Close @TeamKhabib & You’re Hiding In Russia. Travel Bans Will Not Prevent Me From Whoopin’ That Ass. Don’t Use It As An Excuse To Back Out. You Have Been Sent Many Locations, Send Us 1. Still My Bitch #DefendorVacate MF ⚾️ -CSO- 🇺🇸🏆🇲🇽 #ufc249 @ufc @danawhite pic.twitter.com/TVQH4mnG2e
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) March 30, 2020
“April 18 is getting close @TeamKhabib & you’re hiding in Russia. Travel bans will not prevent me from whoopin’ that ass. Don’t use it as an excuse to back out. You have been sent many locations, send us 1. Still my bitch. #DefendorVacate MF”
While the fight between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov had been booked, Justin Gaethje had been pushing for a fight with former lightweight champion Conor McGregor but the current situation surrounding UFC 249 has seemingly changed those plans.
Gaethje is currently riding a three-fight winning streak with all of his wins coming by first-round knockout over the likes of James Vick, Edson Barboza, and Donald Cerrone.